Ohio’s Own: Hen of the Woods Potato Chips
Just when it seemed like every Ohio potato chip had been acquired and assessed, Hen of the Woods popped into the picture. Hen of the Woods makes Kettle Chips in flavors that include an eye-catching one with “A touch of smoke.” As luck would have it, the back of the Hen’s page says the company is Ohio-based.
According to its website, the Hen’s products aren’t particularly new. The Hen has been around at least since 2013 in farmers’ markets in the Cinicnnati area. The website also mentions that the products started out as a salad garnish project. The move from salad to potato chips is a long way to fall. Or a long way to rise, depending on how you feel about the status of salad relative to the status of potato chips.
The chips are distinct. You wouldn’t ever mistake them for big-box Lays or Ruffles or Pringles. The Hen’s chips are sturdier, but not necessarily thicker. Whatever the kettle cooking process, it yields a bag of little round chips with barely any broken shards.
Because of the sturdiness, the chips are also aggressively crunchy. The effect is both interesting and appealing. The smoked version comes off like a barbecue chip without the cloying sweetness, though the ingredients mention honey. What comes through the strongest is a straight-up briny smoke flavor. The curiously crunchy chips come in other flavors too, including Buttermilk & Chive, Sea Salt and Everything, a flavor with lots of seeds that was inspired by the Everything Bagel.
Nutrient-wise, the Hen’s chips are about like any chip. They can, however, score some healthy points for lacking msg, trans-fat, using non-gmo potatoes, and they’re also gluten free. The gluten-free part is mentioned prominently on the Hen’s website.
Mostly it’s a good chip, and it won’t break off into your sour cream and onion dip. You can find the Hen at most locally-based grocers, as well as the fancier Giant Eagles.
For more information, visit henofthewoodsotr.com.